A Words of Faith story written by Laurie Tomlinson
“Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.”
~ 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NLT)~
Just like I obsessed over studying to make good grades, I obsessed over doing all the things to be a good Christian. Reading my Bible, praying, going to church every time the doors were open, and practically running to answer every altar call so I could ask for forgiveness.
Now I know that God doesn’t work like that.
That false picture of God I had painted told a story of distance instead of intimacy. Of a love that was granted with disclaimers instead of no questions asked. And when I fell asleep praying, zoned out during a sermon, and couldn’t make sense of my Bible reading, I wondered: If I couldn’t be perfect, why try at all? I went through the motions—still concerned with appeasing the people in my life who would notice—but I didn’t value a connection with God.
In this Instagram-filtered culture that glorifies busy, I think it’s easy to miss the point. It’s easy to think that faith is a series of pics-or-it-didn’t-happen hoops to jump through. That God is a wish-granting genie in the sky who holds us to an unattainable standard of perfection.
But just like the adolescent version of me, we’re all giving ourselves too much credit.
I’m grateful for a high school teacher who helped me realize that righteousness, holiness—the ability to go to heaven, for that matter—don’t have anything to do with anything we do. The blood of Christ, the ultimate sacrifice made because of His great love, is the only thing that makes it possible.
Kind of takes the pressure off, doesn’t it?
Once I understood the depth of that love, it was a game-changer. It was inspiring. It was transforming. It turned faith from a series of rules to a relationship that never changed no matter how much I failed. And the amazing thing is, our human understanding can’t even begin to scratch the surface of that love.
Now my goal is not perfection but to live in a way that focuses less on what I do and more on the bridge between Christ and me, the perfect power that redeemed me. We don’t have to wait until everything’s lined up or certain parameters have been met to commune with God, because when do we ever have it all together? He sees our hearts and only cares that we show up. Even when life is crazy and all we have to pray is a single word, He meets us where we are.
As the verse mentions above, His grace is all we need.
Author bio: Laurie Tomlinson is a wife and mom from Tulsa, Oklahoma, who is passionate about intentional living, all things color-coded, and stories of grace in the beautiful mess. Previously a full-time book publicist, she owns a freelance copywriting, editing, and PR consulting business called 1624 Communications.
She's a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a two-time Genesis Award winner, and the runner-up in the 2015 Lone Star Contest's Inspirational category. Her work is represented by Rachel Kent of Books & Such Literary.